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Which was the best rival vs. rival league battle? (PaulBarry, CamBianca, SawyerTierno, GladionKiawe)

Which was the best rival vs. rival league battle?

  • Paul sweeps Barry 3-0

  • Cameron beats Bianca 2-1

  • Sawyer beats Tierno 3-2

  • Gladion beats Kiawe 2-1

Results are only viewable after voting.


Bonnie stan
After watching the latest dub episode last weekend, which featured Gladion vs. Kiawe, I was thinking about the recent trend of the writers always sacrificing one rival to make another rival seem more powerful. With the exception of Cameron, whom Ash lost to, all the other 3 Ash ended up beating so I guess this is the writers' way of pumping up a rival's skill to make it seem impressive when Ash beats them.

Anyway, my vote on this would be for Sawyer vs. Tierno. Paul vs. Barry was a sweep which wasn't close or intense for me to watch at all. The other two options were closer battles, but were also shorter considering they were just 2 v 2. Hence by process of elimination more than anything, I find Sawyer vs. Tierno to be the most enjoyable/intense/best written battle of any of them. I do think it's "cheap" in a way that Sawyer basically only wins because he has a Mega and Tierno doesn't, so it's not like I think this battle is perfect either, but I think for me personally it was the best of these four.


I'd say that Shota versus Tierno was good, because it seemed liked either trainer could've won. I remember being excited for Shinji versus Jun at the Shinou League in the weeks leading up to that match, only to be severely disappointed by how easily Shinji swept Jun's team.


Kanto is love. Kanto is life.
Sawyer vs Tierno was the best then Gladion vs Kiawe.


Well-Known Member
I am voting for Kiawe VS Gladion. It was very well done, with good ideas, for me, it is my favorite of this list.

On the other hand, Paul VS Barry, it is for me one of the worst battle. Even I who hate Barry and find him worse in the anime, I am disappointed that he is lost like that.


Lionel_B said:
On the other hand, Paul VS Barry, it is for me one of the worst battle. Even I who hate Barry and find him worse in the anime, I am disappointed that he is lost like that.
Other than being upset about Jun getting swept, I was also vexed regarding his choice of Pokemon for that match especially his Airmd and Sawamular, which seemed random given that the rest of his team prior to that battle had been identical to his in-game team.


Well-Known Member
Gladion vs Kiawe was interesting since it wasn't just a case of a rival but a male companion fighting, guys who are regularly cast aside or reduced to jobbers. It was interesting how they had Gladion win (and rather swiftly in the case of Silvally) but still bothered to have Kiawe come out strong. Turtonator vs Lycanroc in particular was pretty visceral and intense, and while Turtonator won by a plot armour boost, he'd kept pace for a lot of the match before (I also kinda liked the 'hulking up' style they built up to it, all we needed was Turtonator to let out a big "YOUUUUUU!" :p). A shame Kiawe never got a full battle against Ash, but he did still get to the semi-finals (no other companion but Ash has done that yet) and he was the first to beat Gladion's Lycanroc (wonder how that would have fared had Ash lost the finals). Only major down points was how quickly Marowak went down and then Turtonator against Silvally.

It's also kind of amusing how they contrast Kiawe's hot blooded personality with Gladion's cool headed but less social one, especially given Kiawe's early instalment weirdness where he practically WAS the aloof guy originally.


That damn smile
I found Paul vs Barry funny because although I like Barry as a rival in game (favorite tied with Gladion & Hop), his anime portrayal did him dirty and made him glorified comedic relief. I also hated how much he got on Ash who had way more skill so for him to be put in his place (by someone who he admires nonetheless) was a good comeuppance.

Binaca vs Cameron was decent but Riolu besting Emboar just felt wrong

Sawyer vs Tierno was great. It fully brings out the latter’s dance theme by giving him a Rain (Dance) team while also establishes Sawyer’s Mega Sceptile. Would’ve been better if Tierno had a Mega Blastoise

Kiawe vs Gladion was probably my favorite Alola League battle besides Ash vs Kukui. These two are my favorite human characters in SM with contrasting personalities so I was very interested in this batttle. I felt it establishes both of their “power levels” almost flawlessly though I’m a little miffed at how Kiawe’s Pokémon had such a big gap between Gladion’s.

If I had to choose, probably Gladion vs Kiawe


Can we give honorable mentions to non league rivals? I'd like to include Zoey vs Nando. Anyway my personal favorite was Kiawe vs Gladion since I felt they had more chemistry with each other (despite it literally coming from the episode prior) followed by Barry vs Paul just for the sheer irony of him belittling Ash most of the series (or at least the part he was included in) only to be beaten by the guy he admires and who Ash defeats.
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Sticky & Sweet
Unpopular opinion but I thought Cameron vs Bianca was great just for the joke factor and seeing a long time rival character get beaten by a brain dead idiot like Cameron. :eek:


Pokémon Master (Kinda)
I thought they were all kinda bad I didn’t like how Barry’s Hitmonlee hit Ursaring with like 4 super effective hits and lost and Magmortar tanked a hydro cannon that battle was bs.The rest of them seemed kinda boring but the best was probably Hladion be Kiawe because Gladions Lycanroc finally lost a battle even though I feel like it ranked way too many hits.Two focus blasts plus shell trap and dragon tail seemed like way to much.


Emboar_Rulez said:
I thought they were all kinda bad I didn’t like how Barry’s Hitmonlee hit Ursaring with like 4 super effective hits and lost
I disliked that a bit as well, although it's my head-canon that Ringuma survived those attacks based on its own experience level compared to Jun's Sawamular, which was implied to be a new capture that likely didn't have much training by comparison.